Sunday, 9 November 2014

Remembrance Day is Tuesday

NDP MP Dan Harris is bringing back a bill to make Remembrance Day, Nov. 11th, a statutory Bill C-597 would make it a national statutory holiday, like Canada Day. It varies provincially.
Hubby's father

It is a federal 'holiday.' Many years I can recall my first husband staying home, while I toddled off to school to attend our school ceremony. He simply slept in, like many civil servants.

They were wonderful events in the 25 years I was a teacher. I recall, in Teacher's College (1981), one of my peers speaking of the two veterans who came to participate in her school's assembly. One, feebly using a cane, made his way painstakingly into the assembly. He was from WW II. She shuddered when she thought of the WW I vet they'd asked to participate, but he trotted in quite ably! Every year we had vets in. It was meaningful to both the veterans and the students and staff.
Perth War Memorial

The National War Memorial
draws a big crowd.
This ceremony is on TV.
The kids participated in a variety of activities, all culminating in a Remembrance Day assembly. I often worked on the program for the school. Usually, teachers would take turns helping to organize assemblies: Nov. 11th, December Holiday assembly, Education Week assembly. I liked working on this one, as I wanted to help set the tone. Too often, back in the 80s, speakers would talk about 'the men who served'. I convinced many to understand that women served in many ways, here and abroad. Is it ever tough to create a culture of inclusive language!

What would the kids do?

One year we created a classroom play, which we performed in front of the school. We wrote prose and poetry. All of my students had a webportfolio of their classwork, where they would put their poems and stories.
These days, there are a lot more songs and books about our Afghanistan veterans.

"Highway of Heroes", was co-written and co-produced by The Trews and Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) and was inspired by the 2006 death of Captain Nichola Goddard from The Trews' hometown of Antigonish, NS. Canada's Highway of Heroes, is the section of the MacDonald-Cartier freeway named to honour those who have sacrificed all in service of country. You can purchase "Highway of Heroes" world-wide exclusively via iTunes. Net proceeds from sales will benefit the Canadian Hero Fund, an organization that assists the families of Canadian military personnel through academic scholarships. 

JP Cormier has written a new song about modern wars and our veterans.

We'd had a musician in to facilitate music one year, and our class wrote a song honouring our Peacekeepers. It was amazing. I integrated music, art, drama, language arts, and technology into my curriculum.

One year our entire school wrote to troops serving as Peacekeepers.
We ended up with a Pen Pal, PO1 Dennis Irwin, HMCS PRESERVER, who sent us photos. My grade 4/5 students made it into a video, putting the song we'd written to the photos.

We were on the tail end of the Cold War, and we talked about the nuclear bombs hidden deep in the earth. We played the What If card.
What if...fighters became talkers
 What if...everybody loved instead of hated
 What if...wars turned to peace
 What if...weapons disappeared 
 What if...guns became lollipops
 What if...wars never happened
 What if...bombs turned to balloons
 What if...the people that fought for us lived
 What if...uniforms became blankets
 What if...blood became juice
 What if...children lived instead of died
 What if...fighting and wars stopped and we all became happy
What if...
What if...
What if...
by Kelsey 
We read a lot of books.

How Ottawa welcomed the
Vietnamese, Cambodian
and Laotian refugees

By Brian Buckley
They wrote about war on a personal level. One did research on the Vietnam War (her family fled from Vietnam), others wrote about the Gulf War. One of my students told us about running to the
hills to escape the gun fire. I taught kids who were Vietnamese Boat People. Other kids had fled the Civil War in Somalia.

We listened to the song about Francis Toliver. Do you know about his story? They answered some questions about the song and the event.

Francis Tolliver

The main character or narrator in this song is Francis Toliver. Francis Toliver came from a place called Liverpool which was located in England. The story took place in the time of World War 1, at Christmas Eve and in their trenches where they slept.
The story took place in Belgium, Germany, in Flanders and in No Man's Land, which is not a very nice place to go because I think that is where the war was for some of the time. On Christmas Eve a weird thing happened but it was nice, what happened was that the 2 sides of the war started to exchange goods, show each other photos of their families, they ate chocolate, they smoked cigarettes, they had a soccer game and some of them played the violin. They drank stuff and they sang songs like Stille Nacht or, in English, Silent Night and they sang God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The next day they began war again and some of the soldiers got court martialled.

Other kids created tables about the statistics of war.

Here is some information we have gathered from the Canadian Legion's publications.
World War I
Canadians Served
P.O.W. (Prisoner of War)
328,736*including 4,518 women
World War II
Canadians Served
POW (Prisoner of War)
1,031,902 men*including 49,963 women
44,927*including 73 women
53,145*including 19 women
 Korean War
Canadians Served
POW (Prisoner of War)
Gulf War
Canadians Served
POW (Prisoner of War)
4074* including 237 women
~Table by Andrew ~information from: Speaker's Guide and Fact Book: Royal Canadian Legion

What do you think about a National Holiday?
Will you attend a ceremony?


Marie said...

Such important ways to remember and honor those who have served. I can't imagine my grandson's school doing anything this coming week in honor of the veterans, and that's far in the wrong direction we have come. Loved seeing your post. Hope the bill passes!

DeniseinVA said...

An amazing post Jen, it moved me to tears. I hope the Bill passes also.

Red said...

I like the way you had the kids participate directly by producing something meaningful. Yes, we had many Remembrance assemblies and vets who spoke. It's a worth while assembly.

TexWisGirl said...

nov 11th is our veterans' day. a federal holiday for us, also, but most will work. i'm not certain if the schools are even off.

William Kendall said...

I will be down at the memorial this week, and then over at the War Museum afterwards.

Cloudia said...

Bless them all, my dear Ally

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Wonderful... In OZ, ANZAC Day is a national holiday. Here in UK, where the Remembrance on the 11th began a world movement, it is not. Everyone stopped yesterday though. The main service is held on the closest Sunday to the 11th. As the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 is this year, it has been almost back to back programming of remembrance. Most of it good insofar as answering the purpose of continuing such ceremony.

Definitely war is not to be glorified in any fashion. We cannot ignore the fallen, however and, as I have written for tomorrow's post over at my page, in remembering we can pray that one day, finally, the lessons are learned. ...a bit like your 'what if?'. Blessings, YAM xx

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

What is tricky, is that to get the required 195 school days, Ontario schools will have to give up another PD day with another stat holiday. Sigh.